Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Warmer Weather

Finally.  Sunshine!

I sat outside yesterday while eating my quick lunch so I could soak up a few rays from the sun.  I think we will be doing our Sonlight reading outside soon.  (We have been reading our Sonlight books at night for various reasons).

Jimmy is tilling up our garden site right now.  I think I missed the opportunity to plant potatoes, but I plan to plant tomatoes, green beans, cucumbers, and squash. This year I will plant enough green beans to hopefully can for the fall/winter.  I have only 3 jars of tomatoes left from last year's crop.  I would have run out sooner, but I have bought some canned tomatoes at the store in order to save my last few jars.  If we have soup one more time this spring, I will use the remaining jars.  We have also eaten all but three or four jars of the beans I canned last July.  I have plenty of dried beans (chickpeas, pintos and black) to can again, I just have not set aside the time for the task.

The kids and I both have spring fever with this warmer weather.  No one wants to do school!  We want to be outside.  The kids are roller-blading, swinging, riding their bikes, and romping in the woods.  I want to plant my garden, trim my shrubs and monkey grass, clean out the flower beds and spread the one hundred bags of mulch Jimmy bought last weekend.  However, we are still doing our schoolwork. And when I am home in the afternoons, we will do our Sonlight reading outside in the lovely sunshine.

We have a few 5K and 10K races planned for March, April, and May.  Also Julie will be graduating on May 1, and I will be bringing Olivia home from college at the very end of April.  The other three children will continue their schoolwork until the Friday before Memorial Day.  Then summer break will begin!  Yay!  I plan to continue some Sonlight reading throughout the summer, but we will see if I actually do it.  :)

Happy Spring!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Just Jumping Back In

Well. I am back after another hiatus. 
Between having to use my cellphone as a hotspot for internet, Olivia being home for a week for spring break, watching my mother redecorate Leah's room, enjoying another spell of ice, and spending time with my father-in-law, I have not really thought much about my blog.  Except that people periodically ask Jimmy about it.  And I ran into a blog reader at Kroger yesterday……I miss sharing with y'all!  (If anyone out there is still reading!)

While Olivia was home for spring break it was about zero degrees (I exaggerate, of course), and we had an ice storm.  Our whole town shut down for the second time in one week.  We spent a good bit of time outside in the frigid temperature and did some sledding.  On the ice!  It really was a lot of fun, and we took about thirty short videos of all of us slipping and sliding down our hills.  

 The Mama and the Daddy

 Julie, Leah, and Olivia

 Clay, Leah, and Olivia

The woods didn't look as pretty as they did the week before with all the snow, but it was still beautiful. And fun.  And cold!

Clay made a new welded metal tree for me last week.  This one replaces the one he made me last year for Mother's Day.  It is shorter and a little bit narrower, so it fits on our kitchen table better.  He really is an artist, if I say so myself.  :)  He also made a bird for his aunt Jenny for her birthday--he and Jenny share a birthday at the end of this month, and he made a couple of other things during his spring break too.  A sort of robot thing and a dinosaur looking creature.  Like I said.  Metal art.  Unique.

If you look closely at this picture of my kitchen table, you can tell that it is shiny and has a map on it…..When my mother decorated for Leah's birthday party in January, she used clear vinyl to cover the cute fabric for the tablecloth.  I kept the clear vinyl and place several different maps underneath.  I had heard of doing this before, but I had never tried it myself.  We love it!  I have changed what's underneath the clear covering a few times since January.  Currently we have a large U.S. map with all the major interstates marked, a Mississippi map, and lots of president facts and information cards. We have also enjoyed looking at a U.S. map marking all the national parks and a simple world map.  Sam requested a map of Italy, and I bought one on Friday. I will put it at his place once he has learned about some of the presidents.  :)  These maps and cards are definitely conversation starters, and we are all learning so much in a fun way.

Until next time….(and I hope it won't be too long)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

More Winter Weather and the Internet

We had another winter storm event last night!  We had sleet/freezing rain throughout the night, and we awoke to a coating of white---ICE!  It is pretty, but not as pretty as the snow last week.  Jimmy, Leah, and Sam are outside right now sledding on our frozen driveway!

Well.  For over two weeks now we have been without any internet service except for our cell phones!  Our HughesNet modem died, and when I called to inquire about a replacement or repair, the nice lady from India informed me that our equipment was out of date, and that our only option was to upgrade and sign a 2 year commitment.  Of course.

I was not interested in the upgrade or the 2 year commitment.  I am waiting, waiting, waiting for some kind of high speed internet service that is not satellite to come to my area. The upgrade provided less daily allowance of megabites than we already get (500MB a day, in case you are wondering), for about $10 less per month.  Anyway, we are just using our cell phones as hotspots when we need internet……so who knows how much blogging I will get around to doing.

Our spring break has not been too spring-like, but we are definitely enjoying our time with Olivia.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Big Snow

My children woke up yesterday eagerly anticipating the snowfall that our weather man had predicted.  Schools and some businesses were closed in anticipation of the snowstorm.  I must admit that I was a little skeptical!  It has been SO COLD here lately, and while I welcomed the possibility of snow to make the cold at least pretty and fun, I really doubted we would get more than a dusting. (Like always). It just rarely comes a big snow here in the part of Mississippi we live in. 

The kids and I kept looking out the windows all yesterday morning.  We kept checking the weather forecast on my phone.  We even turned on our TV at noon to see the local weather……

Well.  Finally it began snowing!  (I can't remember what time…..)

And it snowed and snowed and snowed. 

My kids had a ball. And so did everyone else in our neck of the woods.  Before it was all over, we had 7 inches in our yard.  :)  7 inches!  That's a Mississippi blizzard!  It snowed for hours and hours…..

The kids ate bowls and bowls of snow ice cream.  Sam ate snow right out of the yard.  Leah and I built a tiny little snowman (I was too cold to build any bigger). All four children went sledding for hours. Jimmy had worked all night Tuesday, so he came home and slept Wednesday during the blizzard, but he and the kids were up bright and early this morning to play before it started melting around 10:00. 
I stayed indoors this morning and cooked a big breakfast for them.  I also spent most of my time yesterday and today drying clothes, wiping up water, and serving hot drinks.

Here are some highlights.

 looking down our driveway

 Leah, Julie, Clay, and Sam
ready to sled

 Clay and Sam

 not sure……looking for a place to sled?  taking a break?

 There goes Clay, down the hill.

 Julie giving Leah a push to get started

Licking snow.

 standing in front of our Dr. Seuss tree
See it leaning to the left?

 out in front of our house, around the barn

 Julie and Sam

 Leah with her sled

 lying in the snow…
not sure why?

 another picture in front of our property

Snow on the beautiful lantern/light that Jimmy hung for us recently. He made the wooden thing that it's hanging on and did all the wiring.

 our backyard

 a tree near our house

 kids playing in the woods


 Pokey, Clay, and Sam crossing a bridge.

 Sweet sisters

 Cool Sam

 This is when the snow first started falling.

 Sam, eating snow again!


 Pokey and Clay

 Me, smallish snowman, and Leah

7 inches!

A Mississippi Blizzard!
Fun! Fun! Fun!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Encouraging Words

Earlier this morning as I was looking through my Bible for verses to share with someone who is going through a difficult time--words of encouragement--I realized that I should share these on this blog.  Some of you may have friends or family members that could use some encouragement.  Maybe even you need encouragement yourself.

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear…"Psalms 46:1

"Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved."
Psalm 55:22

"And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart."
Galatians 6:9

"Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You. When my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I."
Psalm 61:1

"In God is my salvation and my glory; the rock of my strength, and my refuge is in God. Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us."
Psalm 62:7-8

"Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name."
Hebrews 13:15

"But I will hope continually, and will praise you more and more. My mouth shall tell of your righteousness and your salvation all the day, for I do not know their limits."
Psalm 71:14-15

"Rejoice always; pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

"In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul."
Psalm 94:19

"My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing."
James 1:2-4

"But my eyes are upon You, O God the Lord; in You I take refuge."
Psalm 141:8

"The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He will also hear their cry and save them."
Psalm 145:18-19

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Jawbone UP

Mine is like the one on the left, except it is PINK.

Jimmy gave me the neatest gift for Valentine's Day.  A Jawbone UP fitness bracelet.  I gave him one for Christmas in 2013, and he has enjoyed tracking his fitness with it for over a year now.

So.  What does this bracelet do?

  • It tracks your steps.  Every step you take is tracked over each 24 hour period.  When you initially set up your Jawbone, you choose how many steps you want to set as your daily goal.  I chose 10,000.  It is so interesting to see how many steps I take based on my daily activities. On Sundays, when I attend two church services plus Bible class, and I typically don't run, plus I tend to sit and read on Sunday afternoons, I have a hard time meeting the 10.000 step challenge.  However on the days that run, even when I run only 3 miles, I have no problem attaining the 10,000 step goal, and I usually exceed that. I can meet the 10,000 step goal on weekdays when I don't run, but it is close.
  • It tracks your sleep.  This is really my favorite part.  I KNOW that I don't get enough sleep on a regular basis.  Tracking my sleep for over a week now has shown me how little I do sleep.  It breaks it down into deep sleep and light sleep.  I am not sure how much of each type of sleep is most beneficial, but the Jawbone has shown me that on most nights I have less and shorter periods of deep sleep than light sleep. It tells you how many minutes it took you to fall asleep and how many times, if any, that you woke up during the night. I set my goal for sleep at 7 hours, but I have met that goal only 2 or 3 times. 
  • It wakes you up. You can choose the time you would like to wake up each morning, and the Jawbone will wake you up within a 10, 15, or 20 minute (you may can customize this even further) window, waking you up at the optimal time based on your sleep pattern.  It just buzzes on your wrist until you shut it off. I did this for a couple of days, but I turned off this feature last week when I needed to get up at different times each morning for various reasons.  You use the app on your phone to set up and modify this feature, and since I don't keep my phone in my bedroom, it was too much trouble to remember to set the alarm on the app before I went to bed……anyway, I am just using my regular alarm clock, but I may reset the Jawbone alarm again.
  • It challenges you. If it sees that you are exceeding your steps taken goal, the Jawbone will challenge you to increase your steps goal.  My Jawbone has done this almost every day, especially after the day I ran 10 miles. Some days I will choose YES, I'll accept the challenge, and some days I'll choose NO, if it is a day that I don't think I will make the new goal.  Because…..if you meet your goals, you get a smiley face.  
  • It syncs with your smart phone. You have to install the UP app, and that is where you track, set up, and view all of your activities.  You can access the app throughout the day to see your progress.
  • It tracks your food intake. I am not using this feature, but Jimmy is.  You can scan the barcode of your store-bought foods, or manually record the foods that you are eating.  You can set calorie goals, and it lets you know if you are staying within your calorie budget.  Smiley faces included!  It also rates your food based on it's nutritional content:  green, yellow, or red. You can also record your weight and set goals for that too.
  • It is a stopwatch.  You can time your exercise, and then label it as such on the app.
  • Other features: include a power nap setting and alarm, activity alert, idle alert, and other reminders. Also, you can "be friends" with other Jawbone UP users, and you can see their daily activities on your app too.  That really is too much information, in my opinion, so I am only friends with Jimmy.  I like seeing how many steps he has taken or how long he slept each day.  

One day my Jawbone challenged me to drink 8 glasses of water. I could only drink 4 that day (I did drink other things….coffee, a coke), and so I did not get a happy face

It's a fun little gadget, and I am enjoying it very much!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Menu and Miles Monday

It's been a long time since I shared my weekly menu.  However, we are still eating!  Kroger recently finished its rearranging of the store (still don't know why they did it), and I finalized my new shopping list while I was there on Saturday.  I had to completely redo my list.  I list items in the order that I see them as I go up and down the aisles.  I brought a new store directory home, color coded it, and created my new list.  I tweaked it while I was there, and now it's good to go.  I shrunk the font size so that I was able to put my monthly Walmart and Sam's list all on the same page as my Kroger list. I keep a list hanging inside our pantry door for people to highlight items as we run out of them.

We are adding a little bit of wild caught fish and organic chicken and turkey to our menu.  I am serving these foods 2-4 times a week. I am always trying to eliminate more and more processed foods in our diet. It's hard!  Cooking from scratch takes so much time.


  • spaghetti, salad, bread
  • great northern beans (cooked in crock pot), cornbread
  • large green salad, baked sweet and/or white potatoes (potatoes in crock pot)
  • honey garlic chicken, brown rice, green beans (I am doubling this recipe and taking some to a friend of mine who has cancer.  Our church family is providing meals for her and her husband 3 times a week.  What a blessing).
  • hummus chicken, roasted vegetables, salad
I got the recipe for the hummus chicken from Leanna.  Here is my modified version:

Hummus Chicken with Roasted Vegetables
10-12 organic chicken strips (you can cut up breasts or buy the strips)
1 cup hummus (store bought, or make your own)
3 zucchini, sliced thickly
3 squash, slicked thickly
2 onions, cut into chunks
2-3 sweet potatoes, cut into small chunks
2 lemons 
salt, pepper, paprika

Spray two shallow baking pans with non-stick cooking spray.  Arrange the cut vegetables on the pans.  Season with salt and pepper. Spray the vegetables with non-stick spray, or drizzle a little olive oil on top. Layer the chicken on top. Carefully spread the hummus on top of each piece of chicken.  Squeeze the lemons over the chicken and vegetables.  Season with salt, pepper, and paprika.
Bake at 450 degrees for 25-30 minutes--until chicken and vegetables are tender.

I am serving this chicken dish for supper the night Olivia comes home from college for spring break (this Friday!).

I am not current training for any race, so I am just trying to maintain my fitness.  It is SO COLD here, and I have not been able to run outside in about 2 weeks.  Last week I did my 10 mile run on my treadmill!  That is as much of a mental challenge as it is a physical one!  Leanna and I have a 10 mile run planned for Friday morning, but the temperature is predicted to be low 20s or upper teens at 6:00AM that morning.  I am not sure I am that brave!  It may be another treadmill week.
I ran 3.25 miles this morning.  I am trying to get a total of 20-25 miles each week.  I guess my next race is the Coke 10k on May 2.  I plan to run this race with Sam.
I am still sticking to my plan of no marathons for 2015!

Have a happy Monday!

"Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it;"
Psalm 127:1

Visit OrgJunkie for more menus.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Hi Again

Well, I wasn't kidding when I said that my time for blogging was dwindling…..

Over the last week different people have reminded both Jimmy and me that they like reading my blog, and so I am encouraged to try to get back into the groove.

I finished A Tale of Two Cities, and it was fantastic!  I really, really liked it. Clay finished it Friday, and he said that it was "pretty good".  Better than the biography of Eric Liddell, in his opinion.  Unfortunately, I spoiled the ending for myself by reading the questions and answers about A Tale of Two Cities in Clay's world history answer key.  I was so disappointed to know the ending!  But, I had another shocker and even some laughing out loud moments near the end of the book. This book is a little bit difficult to get into at first, but stick with it.  It's a good book, and I am so happy to add it to my Books Read in 2015 list.

I also read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo over a couple of days last week.   This book was a little bit out there.  The overall concept of tidying by category instead of room by room or area by area was new and interesting to me.  She suggest purging and tidying the following categories in this specific order:

items with sentimental value (mementos, photos, etc.)

But the oddness of this book for me lies in the human characteristics she gives her inanimate objects, and the ability to purge so deeply.  I really liked this book.  I will put some of her ideas into practice. I will refer to it when I declutter and deep clean this summer.  But I will not be able to attain to her standard of tidiness.  But that's ok.  It's a fun book to read, and I laughed out loud a couple of times while reading this book too.

Jimmy and I attended Parkgate Pregnancy Center's annual fundraising event last week.  The keynote speaker was Dr. Ben Carson, and he was a delight to listen to.  I ran into several people that I have not seen in such a long time--friends from college and from around town-- (I don't get out much), and it was such a nice evening.

Olivia comes home in 6 days, and we could not be happier!  It will be her spring break, and she will be home for our annual spring cleaning in our yard and flowerbeds event. I know she will be thrilled.  :) She can sleep through most of it if she likes.  We will just be happy to have her and her sweet spirit around.

Until next time…..

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Books and a Little More

What I've Been Reading
I am almost halfway through A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.  I am reading this because it is part of our 10th grade English/World History reading list.  I did not read it when Olivia and Julie read it, but I am trying to read all of the books I assign to my children for high school.  Clay will be writing a paper on this book next week, so I wanted to read the book so that I can properly critique his paper.  I am enjoying it!

I am reading aloud to Leah and Sam Red Sails to Capri by Ann Weil and C.B. Falls and The Journeyman by Elizabeth Yates.  This is my second reading of Red Sails to Capri, but I can't remember the ending!  This is my first reading of The Journeyman, and I really like it.  I am also reading Little House in the Big Woods at bedtime to Leah and Sam, and Jimmy is reading Climb Happiness Hill to everyone after supper each night.

The next book on my list is Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (Julie will be writing a paper on this book in the next few weeks), and I also want to read John Grisham's newest book….I can't remember the title at the moment.

As the seasons of our family change my housekeeping/meal planning/grocery buying/errand running changes too.  I like to have a clean house!  But I rarely have a huge chunk of time to accomplish that.  Even with the four children at home helping, it has become a challenge to keep the house in order.  The daily tidying and putting away of laundry and the hundreds of items that accumulate in the den and kitchen each day is not the problem.  We get the house straightened up and tidied on a daily basis.  It's the cleaning that I struggle with.  So, I implemented yet another cleaning schedule this week, and so far it's working.  I will continue to try it for a few weeks to see if it will be successful.  Here is the plan: (Keeping in mind that my housekeeper cleans my main floor weekly).

Monday:  Clean all bathrooms.
Tuesday:  Extra kitchen cleaning (microwave, stovetop, computer desk, sink, windows in the doors).
Wednesday:  Dust and vacuum bedrooms, plus have the kids declutter their rooms.
Thursday:  Change sheets, bill paying, other computer work (I kept a list all week of these computer tasks….things like order something, answer a lengthy email, etc.)
Friday:  Clean basement (dust, vacuum, declutter)

I have been running off and on.  Last week, I only ran 4 miles.  Two miles at each of our Spartan Fitness Runners practice.  This week I have already run 17.5, and I plan to run 3-4 more tomorrow.  Leanna and I met yesterday for 9.5 miles.  It was cold!  I had told her that my policy was to not run outside when the temperature was below 30 degrees. The forecast predicted a low of 31, so we met at 6:00 AM yesterday for our long run.  Well, my car said 28 degrees when we started!  We survived, of course, and my hands did not freeze off.  They almost did though!  When it is that cold, I wear tights, pants, 5 shirts, 2 pairs of gloves, and a hat or head wrap.

I hope your week has been a good one.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Blog, The Blog

Sometimes I get on a roll, and I blog regularly.  I get grand ideas like blog every single day for the entire year.

And then life gets hectic, and I fail to blog at all.  Birthdays and special events happen, and I fail to record them.  I panic about this because I am not scrapbooking anymore, and I like to document special days in our lives.

Some days I have some time available to blog, and then I can think of nothing to say.

Some days I have a lot on my mind that I want to shout from the rooftops, but no time to type.

So I wrestle with this blog thing.  Which explains the sporadic nature of my posts.

I also am reminded, again, that I have no margin in my life.  When small or large interruptions happen (like Julie having her wisdom teeth out last week), or small or large crises (like my father-in-law being put in the hospital last Friday), my days quickly unravel. Add to that the emotional stress of the situations, and every task seems more difficult.

My father-in-law is still in the hospital.  He had surgery yesterday, and he will remain in the hospital for the rest of this week.  He still faces another surgery (as far as I know right now) at another hospital at a later date.

Well.  Those are my thoughts for the day.
Oh.  I began the Bible in 90 Days reading plan February 1.  So far, I have kept up with the reading for these first three days.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Happy Birthday Sam!

Last week we celebrated Sam's 9th birthday.  My youngest child is 9!

We had a nice day celebrating.  The day began with present opening followed by Sam's request for breakfast:  bacon, scrambled eggs, grits, and biscuits.  

I decorated our kitchen table using Sam's collection of Lamborghinis and one of his favorite candies, Twix. 

Julie crocheted Sam a Baymax.  And I don't even know what that is.

Sam spent the day building all his new Lego sets, and then we enjoyed a late lunch at Abner's.

For dessert later that night, we had a fruit pizza with 9 candles on top!

Happy Birthday Sam!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Why Do You Take Them Food?

Monday afternoon one of my friend's mother passed away.  Within minutes of hearing the news, Lynn, Leanna, and I were making our take them a meal plan. Some of our questions to each other were:

What night should we take it?
What can we prepare/pick up that is simple to prepare and delicious too?
How best can we coordinate our efforts since Leanna had a homeschool co op all day, Lynn and I had Spartans practice, and we all have school and other homemaking responsibilities?

Sam overheard most of this conversation (talking/texting with Siri), and he asked me, "Why do you take them food? Before I could answer he continued his questioning.

Sam:  And why do you take food to someone when they have a new baby?  Why can't the daddy hold the baby when he gets home from work while the mother cooks supper?
Me:  Well…..first of all, it takes a while to cook supper.  I am sure most daddies are ready for supper when they get home or shortly thereafter….so it would be nice if the food was ready or almost ready.  And the new mother is tired.  She is tired from giving birth and also from not getting much sleep.  She has to get up a lot during the night to feed and take care of the baby.  She also may be chasing toddlers around and/or trying to keep her older children on task with their school work.  She may have children that she has to take and pick up from school, etc.  Bottom line, it is such a nice thing to have someone bring you a meal after you have a baby.  And it's nice to receive those meals for a few weeks.
It's a good way for people who love and care about you to show their love and concern for you.
Sam: Well, why don't people take breakfast and lunch too?  They have to eat that too.
Me:  That's a good question.  Sometimes people do bring you muffins or some kind of breakfast bread to reheat.  That's a really nice thing to include with your supper meal.  But really, the family can eat cereal or toast, and usually there is enough food given to them to use for leftovers for lunch too.
Sam: Why are you taking food to Mrs. Barbara?  Why do you take food to a person's house when they have someone in their family to die?
Me:  Again, it's just the kind thing to do.  The family is so sad, and cooking a meal is the last thing on their mind.  They need to eat.  They may have out of town family coming in to stay.  They are busy with funeral plans.  Someone bringing them a meal, a meal that can feed lots of people, is such an act of kindness.  It's how we can show love and concern to someone going through a difficult time.  It's an act of service.  It's just a good thing to do.
And we take food to people when they are recovering from surgery or are suffering from an extended illness, or are confined to bed for some reason.

Then I asked him if he remembered all the food that family and friends brought us when I had my surgeries almost 3 years ago.  I reminded him how excited he and his siblings were each night when someone brought a delicious meal.  It was such a treat, and so, so helpful!

So here is the meal the my friends and I came up with, and we agreed that it came together so easily that when the need arises, we will do this menu again.  Some of the food was take-out, and some was prepared in our homes.

Our menu:
chicken strips (Abner's Chicken)
2 large salads with dressing and breadsticks (Olive Garden)
1 gallon of tea
baked potatoes and fixings
baked beans

Here are a few pointers/ideas for taking food to someone:

  • Use disposable or non-returnable containers.
  • Provide paper goods (plates, napkins, etc.)
  • Consider taking a simple breakfast item as well.
  • Plan your "go-to" meal for when the need arises.  In fall and winter I usually prepare a roast with carrots, potatoes, and onions in my crock pot, green beans, and rolls.  In spring and summer I usually make a pasta salad, a green salad with dressing, and a fruit salad.  With both meals I fix rice krispie treats for dessert.
  • Double casseroles when you make them for your family and freeze one to give to another family.
  • Make sure you cook enough of the food you are taking to someone for your family too!
Taking a meal to someone in need is such a blessing….both to the giver and the receiver.

Monday, January 26, 2015


I finished reading Detectives in Togas today to Leah and Sam.  It ended well.  That was the last book in Sonlight Core B!  Hooray!

But instead of beginning Sam in Core C tomorrow (the second part of world history), I am going to put him with Leah in the last 7 weeks of Core D (American history, part 1) and then keep him with her all the way through.  I have done multiple cores for many years now, and I am just ready to teach one core.  Just one set of read alouds.  Sam has listened to most of Leah's books anyway, so he really is not skipping any chunk of history.  Plus, he will have world history and American history again, at least one more time, before he graduates.

Tomorrow we begin The Journeyman in Core D.  Occasionally Sonlight adds new books to their core (and omits some others) and I find myself reading a book to Leah or Sam that I have never read before. The Journeyman is one such book. I have no idea what it is about!  We will find out tomorrow.

For our bedtime reading, we finished Farmer Boy a couple of days ago.  Jimmy is reading Climb Happiness Hill to the family after supper each night.  I plan to begin a new bedtime book tonight…..I think it's going to be Little House in the Big Woods.  I want to make sure I read all the Little House books to Sam, because I doubt he will read them on his own when he gets older.

I am still not through with Pride and Prejudice, Home is Where My People Are, or Running With the Girls, because I have not had any time to read lately!  When I finish P &P, my next book to read will be A Tale of Two Cities.

And I am thinking about beginning reading through the Bible in 90 days beginning February 1.  I have not done that reading in a while (maybe over a year), so I would like to do that again.

What are you reading?

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Oodles of Poodles!

Leah has been celebrating her 11th birthday for almost two weeks now! Her actual birthday was while we were at Disney World, so that was fun of course.  Then we had our full day family celebration the day after we got home from Disney.  And her final celebration was today.

My mother, the ultimate party planning extraordinaire, enthusiastically planned a 50's Themed party for Leah.  She carefully attended to every detail….all I did was send the invitations and purchase the party food.  She and my daddy came last night and began the set-up.  We did most of it this morning, and here is the result…...

 This life sized stuffed poodle was the centerpiece of the "photo-op" area.  I took a picture of each guest as they arrived by this little set-up.

Here are a few pictures of the fantastic table setting.  The girls just oohed and ahhhed as they saw how cute everything was!

 The placemats are records with pink labels glued on the center.

 My mama and Leah
(She made Leah's new poodle skirt too, and also brought her a pair of saddle oxfords to wear).

 All of the girls
except two who were running a little bit late

 The party menu:
pink lemonade, cupcakes with pink icing, chips and dip, and ice cream sundaes.

 the girls enjoying their party food

 Mims and Pops
The girls played charades for a little while in our den followed by holding a hula-hooping contest.  One of the girls hula-hooped for over two minutes without dropping the hula-hoop.

Then they moved outside to play with the jump-ropes my mother gave them. Their party favors were part of the table decor and included a pink jump rope, a slinky, and a bottle of pink fingernail polish.  

 some of the girls posing

Here are some of them again.

They played tag and on our playground before coming back indoors to watch Leah open her gifts.
We were so fortunate to have pretty weather today.

A big thank you to my mama for planning and executing such a fabulous party.  Leah talked about it all day….right up until the time she finally went to bed.

It was a good day.

Friday, January 23, 2015

10 Ways to Make Your Homeschool Day Run Smoothly

Almost four years ago I wrote a post for Real Life at Home (formerly known as The Homeschool Classroom) entitled, 10 Ways to Make Your Homeschool Day Run Smoothly.

The points I made in this article still hold true for me.  I was reminded of #1 as I slept later than usual this morning.  I still awoke before any of my children, but not early enough to get all of the things done that I needed to before the start of our school day.  So, I have skipped my shower (for now), and will begin our Bible lesson in 12 minutes.  I am reminded again of why my day runs so much more smoothly when I get up at 5:00.  That may not be the magic number for you, but for me, it is.

I'm setting my alarm for 5:00 AM tomorrow!

Enjoy reading this post, and I hope it encourages you!